Five weeks ago, Rev. Jan introduced the Congregation to the Ritual of the Heart Bowl. Briefly, the practice is as follows:
Each family receives a heart-shaped bowl (lovingly created by someone in the congregation) to keep near the entrance to their home. Each family member receives a small metal or ceramic heart (lovingly collected by the minister from various sources). Whenever one leaves home for any purpose or length of time, one is to remove their heart from the bowl and carry it with them. Upon return, the heart is to be replaced in the bowl, once again joining the others that remain there.
The hearts, each unique, symbolize ourselves – how, though we are each different, at our core we are the same: everybody has a heart. The handcrafted bowl is a symbol of not only our home and the Love that is ever present for us upon our return, but also the Love of the church and our congregation. The ritual as a whole symbolizes and serves as a tangible reminder of the idea that we carry Love with us wherever we go, no matter how far from home we may travel.
When I brought this ritual home and introduced the details to my family, my husband is the last person I expected to embrace it. A very practical person, I thought he might smirk at the description of the symbolism, and perhaps patronize me by taking his heart to work for a couple of days, if he remembered to do so.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. From the very first day, he has diligently – one might say faithfully – performed the ceremony as prescribed, his own heart fully engaged in the symbolism of the ritual. Without fail.
This past Friday, he returned after two weeks away on a business-related trip. One of the first things he did upon arriving home was reach into his pocket, take my hand, and ceremoniously place the small pewter heart in the center of my palm. It has become his way of letting me know, of realizing himself, that he is truly Home.
Whether practical or spiritual by nature, at our core – at our very foundation – we are each driven by Love. And because of this, because we share this universally, we – each and every one of us – are never alone.
We do well to remember this. We do well to pass it on.